August 9, 2022 

From the Sixteen to One Archives


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 By Michael Miller

07/23/2007  4:07PM

Office of
County Surveyor,
Civil Engineer,
U.S. Deputy Mineral Surveyor,
Licensed Land Surveyor.
Downieville, Cal.
Nov. 10th, 1907

Mr. Jas. H. Hurin,
Los Angeles, Cal.
Dear Sir: -
On July 12th, 1907, I finished a survey of the South Fork Mine at Forest City, California, such survey consisting of a retracing and marking of the surface boundaries along the South side of the claim and a survey of the South Fork tunnel.
I had previously, during the past 13 years, made surveys of many of the adjoining mines, such as the Young American, Red Star, Osceola, Tightner, etc., and collected all the maps available of all mines in the district.
I have had access to the maps of the Bald Mountain Company, Bald Mountain Extension Company, Red Star Company, and Ruby.
The accompanying map is compiled from my own surveys and the above mentioned maps, and embodies all the data obtainable bearing upon the gravel channels and quartz claims in the district under consideration.
The South Fork Drift Mine is situated at Forest City, Sierra County, California, on Oregon Creek (one of the tributaries of the Middle Yuba River) at an elevation about 4400 feet above sea level.
The region abounds in ancient euriferous gravel channels of many different ages or periods, which may be distinguished one from the other by their different elevations, and the character of the material they contain. The most noted of these channels is the famous “Blue Lead” that can be traced from Southern Plumas County through and across the Western end of the South Fork Claim where it has been worked out.
The workings of the old Bald Mountain Mine were principally on this channel. This channel is colored red on the map. Another channel shown on the map in green, and marked “Deep Channel not worked”, runs through the Bald Mountain ground and into the South Fork. The presence and extent of this channel is determined at various places by developments made by the Bald Mountain tunnel, which crosses the channel in two places in both of which shafts were sunk into the channel. At one point a small portion of the channel was breasted (see map) and this breast is said to have been extremely well, but on account of the large amount of water in the channel, it was not practicable to work it through the 60 foot shaft from the Bald Mountain tunnel. This is probably the same channel as that marked “small channel” crossed by the South Fork tunnel, the difference in size being due to the fact that the Bald Mountain and Extension tunnels crossing the channel 60 feet above bedrock, shows the width between rims at that elevation, while the South Fork tunnel shows actual width of gravel.
This channel was worked by the Ruby people North of the Bald Mountain lines.
Another channel shown by dotted blue lines on the map leaves the Ruby Claim, where it has been extensively worked at a good profit, and extends through the Bald Mountain Extension, South Fork and Maple Grove, into the Red Star, where it has also been worked to a large extent, and where pay gravel is said to still exist in large quantities.
The Eureka tunnel on the Red Star Claim is now being re-opened for the purpose of working this gravel and developing the Tightner Quartz Ledge, which also crosses that claim.
The existence of this channel is shown first by the breasting in the Ruby Mine; second, by a drift from the Bald Mountain tunnel near its North end, and extending Easterly into this channel, where a shaft was sunk without reaching bedrock; third, by the Extension tunnel which crosses the channel for a distance of 1300 feet, where it was not bottomed; fourth, by a tunnel on the Maple Grove Claim (not shown on the map), which penetrates the rim of the channel but does not bottom it. Considerable gold has been taken from the rim gravel on this claim. Fifth, the workings on the Red Star. It will be observed that of all the openings mentioned, only those on the Ruby, where the channel still extends South, and those on the Red Star where it still continues North, were deep enough to reach the bottom of the channel. The other openings are too high.
A fourth channel shown as entering the Northwest corner of the South Fork has been worked by the Extension people to the extent indicated on the map. That portion within the South Fork lines was worked from the Bald Mountain Extension tunnel by means of an incline, having a vertical height of 65 feet above the tunnel.
Many expert gravel miners contend that this channel continues through the South Fork ground, substantially along the yellow line marked “Apparent course of South Fork channel”, as the channel had a trend in that direction as developed by the breasting above. Others maintain that this channel is a portion of the Bald Mountain channel, and should join the same just East of the “Dike” which crosses the South Fork line and that the continuity of the channel is broken by the channel shown in dotted blue lines, which being deeper, has cut out the other channel.
Mr. L. D. Davis, Mining Engineer, who made all the surveys for the Extension Mine, and Mr. Walter Lawry, Superintendent of that mine, hold to the former view, and I believe their opinion is worthy of consideration. In any event, it is absolutely certain that the gold originally in that portion of the South Fork channel below the point worked by the Extension people, is still on the South Fork Claims, either in that channel which continues intact through the South Fork claim, or contained in the deeper channel which (if the other channel is not intact) has cut it out.
It then appears that there is no question that a large body of pay gravel crosses the South Fork Claim, the only difficulty being to locate it. These old gravel channels often, if not always, show some evidence of their course upon the surface.
The Bald Mountain Channel may be traced on the surface from Forest City through the Bald Mountain Claim, and through the Ruby to the “City of Six”, where it breaks out into the North Yuba River, by following the lava cement which filled the original depression or valley of the stream when the first lava flow occurred.
The same indications show the South Fork channel following the yellow line marked “Apparent course of South Fork channel”.
Reference to the map will show that the face of the South Fork tunnel at the time of my survey, was within 400 feet of the channel. I am not informed as to the distance this tunnel has been extended since July 12, 1907.
The quartz veins of Southern Sierra County has during the past thirty years produced several million of dollars, most of which has come from the two principal veins which I will call the Plumbago and Tightner veins. These veins can each be traced for several miles.
The Plumbago Vein has a Northwesterly course, with a dip of about 45° to the Northeast.
The most important mine on it is the famous Plumbago, situated about two miles South of the South Fork.
Nobody except the owners knows what the Plumbago has produced, but that it has been extraordinarily rich is well known.
During the past ten years the present management has taken out over a million dollars; probably $1,500,000 would be a conservative estimate.
North of the Plumbago are the Clute, Crafts and Hope Extension Claims (now part of the Plumbago property).
These three claims were formerly known as the Hope Quartz Mine, and were worked profitable many years ago. Adjoining the Hope is the El Dorado with a record of $150,000.
North of the El Dorado of the same vein is the Yellow Jacket, (owned by F. J. Hauber) and as yet undeveloped.
North of the Yellow Jacket is the Osceolo, one of the earliest locations in the district. It is estimated that over $100,000 has come from the Osceolo. The Osceolo is shown on the map.
From the Osceolo the Plumbago Vein enters the Red Star Claim.
The Tightner ledge runs in a Northerly direction with a dip of about 45° to the East. Its course is not exactly parallel with the Plumbago vein, but bears toward that vein going North.
The principal mines on this vein are the Rainbow, which has produced over $700,000 and is still turning out large quantities of bullion, and the famous Tightner Mine, which has attracted the attention of the mining world during the past two years.
If the Tightner and Plumbago Veins each continues its course going Northerly, they will unite on the Red Star Claim, and form one vein.
Many years ago, while the Red Star was being worked for gravel, a rich quartz ledge was uncovered at the point marked “Red Star Ledge”. Some ten thousand dollars was taken from a hole ten foot deep, and then work was discontinued on the vein, the gravel miners not appreciating at that time the meaning of the discovery.
About six months ago, a Company of Denver capitalists purchased this claim and are now re-opening the Eureka tunnel for the purpose of exploring this vein and working the gravel. It is apparent from a glance at the map that the vein is the same as the Tightner Vein, as it is practically on the same course. The survey of the South Fork tunnel confirms this opinion.
I found four quartz veins in the tunnel, only one of which is worthy of consideration as a possible continuation of the Tightner Vein. This is marked on the map as “Vein No. 1”. It is about 1-1/2 feet wide, has a strike of N. 12° W. and dips 60° to the East. The West wall is slate and on the East, 20 feet from the ledge is the serpentine. Its strike brings it directly in line with the Red Star discovery, practically on the line of the Tightner.
At the Tightner, the wall is slate, and the serpentine occurs from seven to twelve feet East of the vein- - conditions almost similar to the vein in the South Fork.
There is every reason to call this vein the Tightner ledge, and it should be exploited by drifts running North and South, particularly South toward proven ore bodies.
About 1800 feet of this vein exists between the South Fork tunnel and the North boundary of the patented Red Star Claim, which is subject to location as a quartz vein.


C. E.
Co. Surveyor
U. S. Dep. Min Surveyor.
 By Michael Miller

05/30/2007  9:06PM


The metals for alloying are weighed in troy ounces, and it is necessary to understand the weights used.

12 oz. troy = 1 pound troy
1 oz. Gold (troy wt.) =20 pennyweight (dwt.)
1 dwt. = 24 grains (gr.)
=480 grains = 31.10 grams
1 grain = 0.065 gram (gm.)
1 gram = 15.43 grains
31.10 grams = 1 oz.
 By Michael Miller

05/29/2007  11:57AM

Years ago our company and crew went to San Francisco for an outing at the Pacific Stock Exchange. We set up our high-grade furnace on the front steps, melted 100 ounces of gold and poured a gold bar. The event was coordinated with friends of the old mint, which was closed. “Save the Mint” was the shared battle cry. Here is a slice of old California history.

On July 8, 1852, President Fillmore signed an act authorizing a branch mint in California. Its construction took a long time for many reasons but on May 26, 1870 the cornerstone of the Mint was laid. The building opened on a rainy Saturday, November 5, 1874. The Mint rode out the severe earthquake of 1906. By 1934, one third of the United States’ gold reserve was stored in the vaults of the SF Mint. In 1961 it was designated a National Historic Landmark. It had a little life as a museum but the Treasury Department planned to close it permanently in 1994. Senators Boxer and Feinstein arranged a reprieve until December 30, 1995. The Sixteen to One got involved during this crisis time. The crew set up a gold pour on the steps of the Pacific Exchange. Afterwards, we all (most of the guys were either drunk by this time or hung over from the booze consumed on the chartered bus ride from Nevada City to SF) marched over to the Mint. The plan was to sell special gold medallions from the gold in the pour to raise money to save the Mint. Willie Brown was to come but he sent a rep; however in 2001 he established the San Francisco Old Mint Task Force to keep the Granite Lady alive.

In 2003, the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society took up the cause. Senators Feinstein and Boxer introduced federal legislation to authorize a commemorative coin honoring the Old Mint. Finally Mayor Brown bought the national landmark with a borrowed silver dollar that was minted in the Granite Lady 124 years earlier. The goal is to complete the project and give San Francisco a world-class museum. The Old Mint could use the Sixteen to One gold collection as a world class draw. Our gold collection is one of the great single mine gold collections and perhaps the greatest for its variety. Is there a person or company interested in bringing this collection to the Old Mint in San Francisco, gateway to the west?

Our top specimen of interest is “the Whopper”. Another is the “Crystal Palace”. We have been very careful in preserving the provenance for each specimen, which adds greatly to the value. A leading mineral specimen authority, Bryan Lees, said that interest in mineral specimen collecting is growing and hopes more specimens find their way into museums. He sold a gold specimen in 1999 called “the Dragon” for $350,000. It resold in 1999 for $650,000 and recently sold again for $2 million. The Whopper and its story is every bit as appealing as the Dragon.

My favorite specimen doesn’t have a name yet. Both placer gold and lode gold are embedded in quartz, which is as unusual as any geologic structure can be. It is a priceless example of nature’s ways. There are many more and each has a story, appealing to children and adults. The Company held onto the specimens through all the financial turmoil because it belongs as a collection, but time is running out.

Please broadcast this opportunity to philanthropic individuals or companies.
 By Rae Bell

03/14/2007  8:40AM

A newsletter was mailed out to the museum membership yesterday. If you are not a member and would like to become one go to "museum" on left of screen and you will see a membership link on the museum page. There is a printable membership form there.

The week started out on a very good note for both the museum and the mine. A shareholder who is very supportive of the museum offered to donate $20,000 to the museum specifically for the museum to purchase specimen(s) from the Sixteen to One Mine. The idea is to get the rest of the shareholders (or public) to make donations to match or exceed the $20,000 already put up.
The benefits of this program are multiple. For the donor a tax write-off. The museum is a 501 (c) 3 educational non-profit organization. Donations are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. The benefit for the museum is an enhanced gold collection of specimens from Alleghany. For the mine it means specimen sales i.e. operating revenue! To make a donation for this project checks should be made out to UGMM and mailed to P.O. Box 907, Alleghany, CA 95910. Specify what it is for.
A big thanks to the "golden giver" for getting this rolling.
 By martin newkom

03/13/2007  10:19AM

One of my former neighbors where I live had a chance to
go as a bearer on one of Fr.
Hubbard's expeditions but he
was small of stature so his
family wouldn't allow him to go.Sad.
 By Dick Davis

03/12/2007  4:37PM

If Kyle has an interest: Father Hubbard taught at Santa Clara. Documents should be there.

Here are web sites:,9171,740584,00.html?promoid=googlep
 By martin newkom

03/12/2007  11:09AM

This is for Kyle: The Jesuit
order of clergy is reputed to
have extensive geological records. Your son might want to
check that out. There was a very famous clergyman, Father
Hubbard who taught geology at
one of their colleges.
 By Rae Bell

03/12/2007  8:21AM

Dick Davis is certainly a "Golden Giver".

The idea of donations to the museum to purchase specimens from the mine helps both the mine and the museum.

Donations are tax deductible.

Thank you Dick.
 By Michael Miller

02/28/2007  3:33PM

The following story appeared on the front page of the Business/Weekend section of The Union (Saturday, August 25, 1990, above the fold). Below the article about the Sixteen to One mine is a profile of Dan Walters entitled “Columnist takes on State Legislature”. Today Mr. Walters is a senior editor for the Sacramento Bee. Other headlines inside are: “Saddam Hussein sending Dow sliding”, “U.S. Oil industry may benefit from standoff in Persian Gulf”, “Bundesbank Chief heading monetary unification”, “Are you willing to pay for Organic food?” An ad says, “Top CD Rates are 8.125% to 8.375%.”

I found the newspaper in a box, buried in a corner and read the story, wondering, “What the heck did I say sixteen years ago?” This was before the Company bought out the lease and before metal detectors. Many readers may not know that Shell Oil’s Billiton came very close to taking the lease from Royal Gold in 1990-91. The Company bought back the lease in June 1991. Metal detectors opened the floodgates of unmined gold in January 1992 . A dividend was issued in 1995 and the mine almost reached the goal of $3 million in 1996.

THE UNION, Grass Valley-Nevada City, Ca. – Saturday, August 25, 1990

Gold mining: One man sees a comeback

Alleghany miner plans the reopening of the 16 to 1 mine after equipment purchase

The Union

ALLEGHANY – California gold mining is considered by most to be a closed chapter in history, a bygone of great men and big money.
But not to Michael Meister Miller. Gold mining is as clear and present as the ledger sheet sitting on his crowded desk at the Original 16 to 1 Mine’s corporate offices here.
Miller, president and leading shareholder of the 16 to 1, is a man with big dreams for the future of hardrock mining and the guts and faith to pursue it.
Miller, a youthful and energetic 48-year-old with hair flowing to his shoulders, began reopening the mine when he became 16 to 1 president in 1983. By 1989, the 16 to 1 had been placed on the Pacific Stock Exchange and was ready to start mucking-out gold.
The 16 to 1 mine operated from 1911 to 1965 when it was closed because of the cost of extracting the gold outstripped the selling price. The old Nevada City Nugget once described the 16 to 1 as “the greatest highgrade producer in the world.”
“Our goal is to get the mine into production on a scale that will place the company in self-sufficiency,” Miller said.
The mine is not producing because $1 million to $2 million of work is needed on essential equipment.
“Once we are funded, we will be producing gold in four months. And that is a heavy thing for me to say,” Miller told The Union.
Miller is seeking investors but is in no hurry: Part of his corporate philosophy is to operate without obligation.
“We have no time pressured because we have no debt. We’re not spending more money than we are taking in,” Miller said.
However, even without producing gold, the 16 to 1 is still operating in the black. The company leases sections of the mine to the Kanaka Creek Joint Venture and, recently, to Billiton Mining Co., a subsidiary of Shell Oil.
The lease to Billiton, according to Miller, is a good omen for the 16 to 1. Shell is considering investing $6 million into exploration and development of the 16 to 1, Miller said.
Meanwhile, Miller is trying to locate, explore and produce gold from the infamous Red Star Mine, a section of the 16 to 1. This mine was surveyed incorrectly by Fred Searls, one-time president of Newmont Mining Co. and an all-time great mining engineer, in the 1960’s.
Another positive sign that only 20 percent of the mine’s vein system has been mined and production exceeds one million troy ounces of gold. Once the funding comes through and the mine is back in production, Miller’s goals are a $3 million annual cash flow by the end of 1994, and a daily output of 130 tons of gold ore per day and increase the number of shareholders on the Pacific Stock Exchange to 750.
A working mine operating in the black would obviously be good for the shareholders but additionally, according to Miller, would be a boon to the local area.
“Mining is really healthy for the community. We’re providing jobs and creating wealth.”
As for environmental concerns, Miller strongly states that underground mining is not damaging to the ecosystem. Looking out of his office window at the towering pine trees and clear blue sky, Miller said, “It’s because of our mines here that it is pretty. The miners want the surface for a buffer.”
“Nature is neutral to miners. Nature does not care who gets the gold.” The local opposition to mining – witnessed by the antimining initiative on Nevada County’s November ballot – stems from “the hardest emotions in people – greed, envy, jealousy and fear,” Miller said.
“I think mining is a pretty clean industry.” Cleaner he claims, than the fast-food restaurants in the Glenbrook Basin, spewing smoke into Nevada County’s mountain air.
“We, as a country, should be happy we became self-sufficient in gold,” Miller said. “I’ve become very bullish on producing natural resources within the state of California.”
He also is quick to point out that gold is used for more than just jewelry, wristwatches and coins. Today, its uses stretch from computer components to tooth fillings.
“There is a very real possibility to get the mine into certain level of production that will allow this company to pay dividends,” Miller said. That, he said, is “the ultimate goal.”
After two hours of talking about mining Miller has hardly paused for a breath. If the topic is about mining or anything having to do with mining, Miller has something to say. If the subject is the 16 to 1, he gets downright excited.
“You have to look at life with a cold, calculative eye,” he concluded. “but try to retain some optimism.”
 By Dick Davis

02/13/2007  1:21AM

Bundled up my tax records today and that reminded me to make an appeal to 16:1 owners to consider a tax deductible donation to the Museum.

It's really simple. Send a check.

Po Box 907
Alleghany, CA 95910-0907

It might be possible for the Museum to purchase gold specimens from the 16:1.

16:1 is living history and the golden beauty that comes out of the mine is as old as the earth.

If you have an interested in California history, its gold and mining, consider a tax deductible gift.

The Museum might even create an Honor Roll of the names of Golden Givers.
 By Michael Miller

09/22/2006  11:11AM

On June 22, 2005, the Company continued its long standing objective of consolidating the great gold mines of the Alleghany Mining District with the purchase of the Gold Crown Mine and its satellite claims. We recently found the following articles published in 1953.

California Mining Journal

Another Sierra County Gold Strike at the Gold Crown Mine Alleghany, California
$150,000 to $200,000 per ton

Gold Crown Mine Makes One of Alleghany’s Richest Strikes

Alleghany, Sierra County – Operators of the Gold Crown Mine have confirmed reports of a gold strike.
Fred and Dan Giles and their mother, Harriette Duke, said a highgrade ledge was struck at a depth of 400 feet. A tunnel had been driven from the north side of the Middle Yuba River Canyon.
Mrs. Duke descried it as one of the richest strikes in the Alleghany District in several years. The mine is located between the Original 16 to 1 Mine and the Oriental Mine, both active producers.
Both the Oriental and 16 to 1 have high grade areas in which they mine only when the mill run of ore gets a little low in values.
The Gold Crown has recently gone on two shifts following the installation of new equipment including a mucking machine, Miner’s Foundry side dump cars and battery locomotive. The company is a Nevada Corporation.
When the writer was on the property July 14th Mrs. Duke expressed the opinion that a noticeable change in the formation predicted an early strike.

California Mining Journal
September 1953

More Details of the Rich Strike

As news was released about the rich strike at the Gold Crown Mine it begins to look like one of California’s biggest. In an interview with a San Francisco Examiner reporter Dan Giles stated that the rich strike will run between $150,000 and $200,000 to the ton of ore. He further stated that the rich strike was made after the miners had run a lower tunnel into the mountain for a distance of 1,500 feet. He also stated that last winter they were about to give up the job when their foreman, Al Novak, urged them to “stick it out.” At that time the miners were following a gabbro and serpentine slate contact.
Hal Wright’s Sierra Booster gives further detail as follows:
“The round blasted on July 20 showed the footwall of a quartz vein for about a foot, from which a small amount of high-grade was taken. That was the tipoff. After the next three rounds all rock had to be hand-sorted and many powder boxes were filled with high-grade – much of it jewelry in quality. Judge Wilford Hart, engineer for the adjoining 16 to 1 mine, says the gold looks as good as anything he has ever seen taken from an Alleghany mine.
In one small collection of the rock, approximately 25 pounds, it was estimated to run 40% gold. It’s the type of gold that brings $100 per ounce with the New York jewelers.”
In describing the formation the Booster says:
“Where contacted, quartz in the ledge runs fairly solid up to a foot in width on the footwall. Bluejay talc, sericite and quartz stringers in a conglomerate mass on the hangingwall side broadens the ledge formation to about four feet. Free gold appears principally in the quartz but is also found in the bluejay and slightly into the country rock. Clusters of arsenical pyrites are sprinkled in the formation, after following the talc and Sericite lenses besides appearing in the quartz. The gold itself runs from crystallized shapes to jagged and may be characterized as heavy and clear.”
“Point of discovery is 1,510 feet from the portal. The vein pitches 70° to the west and is exactly in position according to a projection made from the ledge outcroppings by Bill Vance of the 16 to 1 mine. From the tunnel level the ledge has about 500 feet of backs.”
“Following the strike stock in the mine became unavailable. Mrs. Duke, mother of the two Giles boys, owns 51% of the stock. There are about 350 other stockholders. The corporation was organized Aug. 3, 1949.”
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:17PM

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park
P.O. Box 265 / 310 Back Street
Coloma, CA 95613
(916) 622-3470 FAX (916) 622-3472

October 24, 1995

Mike Miller, President
Sixteen To One Mine, Inc.
P.O. Box 1621
Alleghany, CA 95910

Dear Mike:

Thank you so much for coming to the U.S. National Gold Panning Championships this October 7th and 8th. It was so nice to have you here! We really appreciated your generous donation of the gold specimens and the medallions for the contest winners. It was fun to have you do the announcing when you gave these prizes out too. It’s always a pleasure to see you and I know that everyone enjoyed your coming.

I hope one day soon to get out to the mine and see your operation. Fred Olssen from Australia said that he really enjoyed the tour (I was jealous). You’ve quite a responsibility, managing a mine with such notoriety.

Thanks again Mike. You’re the greatest!

In Appreciation,
Rosanna McHenry
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:16PM

5000 Rocklin Road . Rocklin CA 95677 . Tel.916-624-3333

Johan Raadsma
Original 16:1 Mine
U.S. Post Office 1621
Alleghany, CA 95910

December 16, 1994

Dear Johan,

On behalf of all of us in the mining department I want to thank you for taking your time to show us around the mine. All of us felt the tour was exceptional, and we appreciated how leisurely you conducted it. A number of the students commented that they had never seen that much gold before. Many of them had never been underground or seen the workings of a mill either, so the tour was a treat for all concerned.
Our spring semester will begin the last week in January. At that time I will contact you about looking for a way to remove some of the impurities from your gold. If you’re still interested we can arrange to meet and discuss the details. We will be delighted to do this, and I already have one student interested in the project.
Again, thanks for the excellent tour, and have a very Merry Christmas.

Don Juergenson
Mining Technology
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:13PM

San Francisco Section of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc.

P. O. Box 26645 Kaiser Building
San Francisco, CA 300 Lakeside Drive
94126-6645 28th Floor

September 21, 1994

Original 16 to 1 Mine
ATTN: Mr. Mike Miller
PO Box 1621
Alleghany, CA 95910

Dear Mike:

I would like to thank you on behalf of the San Francisco Section of A.I.M.E. for your presentation last week. We have heard from several members who were in attendance and they wanted me to extend to you their appreciation.
The Original 16 to 1 Mine is historically known to many in the mining community but to hear first hand what you are doing currently was very interesting. The specimens you brought were also well received.
There was enough interest generated that I would like to follow up with you to arrange for a field trip to the mine this spring.
Thank you again for your time.

Very Truly Yours,
William A. Warfield


CHAIRMAN……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….Noel Kirshenbaum (415) 986-0740
PROGRAM CHAIRMAN………………………………………………………………………………………………Bill Warfield (415) 641-1994
COMMUNICATIONS……………………………………………………………………………………………………Peter Krag (415) 768-7261
SECRETARY-TREASURER…………………………………………………………………………………………..TJ Cox (415) 768-1234
GEM & STUDENT AFFAIRS…………………………………………………………………………………………Joe Hanzel (415) 604-3218
PAST CHAIRMEN……………………………………………………………………………………………………….Jim Woodfill
.……………………………………………………………………………………………………….Kevin Ashley
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:12PM

Nevada County Gem & Mineral Society
November 1993
Page 8


MICHAEL MILLER, President and CEO of the 16 to 1 mine in Alleghany; CA. was our surprise guest speaker at our October meeting. Seldom has there ever been such a quiet and attentive audience as those lucky club members who attended.
The history of the 16 to 1 is a boom-and-bust gold country saga that appears to be having a happy ending. Founded in 1911, as a deep hard-rock mining company, it tunneled on with a fair amount of success until 1965. The cost of operations balances against the $32.00 per ounce price of gold eventually closed the mining operation in 1962.
There were always those who believed that the 16 to 1 could prove to be a good business investment. In 1975 the mine was re-opened and operated to a limited degree. Securing new backers and using new equipment in 1983 the mine swung back into full operations again. Now in 1993, the mine is successful enough to be listed on the Stock Exchange. It now owns it’s own land free and clear, and is currently debt free, thanks largely to the dynamic leadership of Miller and his dedicated crew of 17 employees.
On August 9th this year, a gold specimen weighing more than twenty pounds (141 ounces) of ‘butter gold’ ore was blasted out of a tunnel below the 1000-foot level. That white quartz vein was richer than anyone had guessed. On that one Monday, the miners recovered more than 500 ounces of gold from TWO different locations deep in the hard rock mine. New seams are now being explored as far down as the 2200-foot levels.
“It looks real hit-and-miss when you look at the paper figures”, said Miller, “But April, May and part of June was dedicated to dead work; de-watering, re-timbering and other maintenance. This is the pay-off for all that work”.
The one spectacular 14 inch long specimen, valued at over a quarter million dollars, was then displayed at the Nevada County Fair. The exhibit included demonstrations of mining techniques and equipment. This display was the hit of the 1993 Fair.
Miller is now exploring other ways and means to expand the financial base of the operation. As there are continual requests for tours of the mine, and requests for specimens of gold-bearing quartz, etc., he is giving serious thought to these marketing ideas.
At the close of his presentation, Miller answered members’ questions. Members asked about water pumping systems (over 80 gallons a minute), air circulation and compressors. How many miles of tunnels are being worked? (over 26 miles), are they still blasting? (yes). Do they use metal detectors? (yes, the best they can find.) and many other questions.
This was a really exciting program. Anyone who has ever dipped a pan in a stream, or pounded a quartz rock looking for color, shares in the 16 to 1 dream of “GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS”.
Our thanks to Michael Miller for his fascinating program. We hope to hear from him again soon.
 By Michael Miller

09/01/2006  8:09PM

Department of Mining Engineering
Mail Stop 168
Mackay School of Mines
Reno, Nevada 89557-0139
(702) 784-6961
FAX (702) 784-1766

April 25, 1993

Mr. Michael M. Miller, President
Original Sixteen-to-One Mining Company
U.S. Post Office 1621
Alleghany, CA 95910

Dear Mr. Miller:

On March 22, 1993, eight students and one professor of the John Mackay Club from the Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno, were provided a marvelous tour of the Original Sixteen-to-One mine in Alleghany, California. The attention received and thoroughness of the tour made for an extremely successful and memorable visit. The group was treated to a highly informative engineering discussion with Mr. Johan Raadsma, a superb underground tour led by Mr. Ian Haley, a complete overview of the milling process, and allowed to examine a portion of the fabulous Sixteen-to-One gold collection. From both the mining and purely engineering perspective, the day proved exceptionally educational.
I wish to thank you and all Sixteen-to-One personnel involved for your efforts in arranging this visit and for your willingness to support mining education. I realize the value of the time dedicated to our group during production hours and speak on behalf of the entire group by reemphasizing our appreciation. To express our gratitude we wish to offer you an honorary membership in the John Mackay Club, an organization compromised of future professionals in the minerals industry; please accept the membership card attached to this letter.
Enclosed with this letter as well is a summary report of our visit to the Sixteen-to-One as you originally requested. The report contains photographs chronicling our tour and remarks concerning the present mining operation from the engineer’s perspective.
Thank you once again for arranging this most enjoyable visit. Yours sincerely, //s//
Leo Gilbride John Mackay Club President
 By Michael Miller

08/07/2006  9:53PM

The following is actually from my historical archives, special books about the gold experience. It is a small part of a chapter written with first hand experiences during the early days of Sierra County : Hallowed Were the Gold Dust Trails. My editing is quite light. The Sixteen to One and my home are in this County. Sierra County is the second smallest county (by population) in California. Downieville is the county seat (about four hundred people). I first drove to Downieville in 1973 on a trip to find home. I returned a year later with my father, who owned a little stock in Original Sixteen to One Mine and moved to Alleghany in 1975. I hope you enjoy another glimpse of early California.


From the dry and dusty slopes of Nevada, travelers cross the California border to the evergreen forests of the Yuba’s upper ridges and enter fascinating Sierra County; fascinating because of its pine-clad mountain heights, fascinating because of its historic creeks and rivers of gold, and more fascinating perhaps because of the strange race of pioneers who blazed the way into its almost impenetrable defiles.
Leading into the heart of Sierra County in the earliest days were two main trails, one starting from Marysville and winding up through Yuba County to Foster’s Bar; the other starting at Nevada City in Nevada County and meandering in and out of one gulch after another until it came to San Juan Ridge, which it crossed, finally leading into Camptonville, near the western border of Sierra County.
The history of placer mining in this region begins with the explorations along the North Fork of the Yuba River, the first prospecting having been made at Foster’s Bar, close to the eastern border line of Yuba County. From here prospectors entered Sierra County, where in a short while they found gold in abundance on almost all the creeks and tributaries flowing from the north and the east.
In the month of October a hard-headed Scotchman named Downie, who had run a steamboat on Lake Erie, prevailed upon an Irish adventurer named Michael Devaney to take a chance with him, and to start out into the alluring wilderness ahead. Securing the services of an Indian who was familiar with the section, and promising to share his supplies with any others who would join the expedition, Downie finally got a company together, made up of ten Negroes and a Kanaka named Jim Crow.
This intrepid company blazed a trail which was followed for many years afterwards by travelers into the mining camps as far east as Sierra City. Passing over the North Fork of the Yuba out of Foster’s Bar, they fought their way up Willow Creek just above the present town of Camptonville, then struck out over the ridge to the east till they came to an elevated area, where the town of Mountain House was afterwards established. Gazing down the canyon towards Goodyear’s Bar they declared that they were entranced with the gorgeous vision of mountains, forest and canyon scenery that appeared on either hand, and Downie himself admitted in after years that it was the most picturesque sight he had yet seen in all his travels. Coming down Woodruff Canyon from Mountain House they made for the banks of the North Fork of the Yuba River, and as they descended the trail they did some prospecting. Even when they reached the flats on the river, which afterwards became known as Goodyear’s Bar, they spent some time searching for “color,” but without any great success. Continuing on up stream for about four miles, prospecting all the way, they finally arrived at a quiet little recess in the forest glades about which the lofty forms of mountains had strung a great protecting barrier. Into this wild garden retreat three branches of the North Fork of the Yuba were gently flowing, making it a most practical spot in which to pitch their tents and settle down. Describing this scene afterwards, in the year 1858 to be exact, Major Downie wrote:
I shall never forget the fascination of that first picture of what we then called “The Forks.” Long willows waved on the banks, pine and spruce trees rose in stately groups where saloons now stand, the hillsides were covered with handsome oaks, their strong branches sheltering the Indian wigwams, and here and there a great monarch of the forest towering above everything.
Strangely enough the Forks proved to be as alluring in its deposits of gold as it was in its wealth of wild beauty. From the very first day that Downie and his men began panning the gravel beds, they were successful. Little by little they began to realize that the whole area where the three little streams came together was so rich in flakes and good-sized nuggets that they took up separate claims, each man staking out an attractive diggings for himself. The story goes that each man struck bonanza. In four days an average sum of $1,000 was panned by every miner, and by Christmas they were so wealthy that they grew impatient to celebrate.
Although the hills were covered with snow, they packed their gold dust safely in their pokes, all but Downie and Devaney, and set out on their return over the old trail, bound for the big cities and a roaring good time. In the meantime the Yuba River rose above its banks, and mining became impossible at the forks, so Downie and Devaney dug in for a season of hibernation. The members of the band, on their departure, had promised to return in the early Spring with stores of supplies for the camp, but the only one who kept his word was Jim Crow, who, in about three months’ time, showed up again, stocked with as much in the line of provisions as could be loaded on the backs of a couple of mules.
News about the discovery of rich diggings up at the forks on the North Yuba River spread rapidly to the rest of the mining country, and by April, 1850, it was estimated that there were about 5,000 miners at work in that region, and all of them doing well. Then began to be opened up such camps as Durgan’s Bar, Zumwaldt’s Bar and Tin Cup Bar, close in by “The Forks,” which by this time took on the name of Downieville.
Little by little more prospectors wandered into Sierra County, and soon new diggings were opened up in all that area both to the north as well as to the south of the North Fork of the Yuba. Two trails led up to the camps in the southern area, one from Camptonville, and another from North San Juan in Nevada County. Some Hawaiians taking the later trail in May, 1850, found gold in a ravine ever after known as Kanaka Creek, and here arose the mining camps of Minnesota, Chip’s Flat and Alleghany, where quartz mining began later on.
But it was in the wide area to the north of the North Fork of the Yuba that the greatest development took place. And the story of the discovery of those mines is redolent with some of the fascination of the fairy tale. Just about ten miles to the north of Sierra City, at the boundary line of Plumas County, there are scores of small clear crystal lakes, fed by snows which annually descend in that rugged wilderness. A prospector named Stoddard, coming down to Foster’s Bar, reported that he had, while hunting there, chanced upon on of those lakes, the shores of which were aglow with golden sands. Great excitement was stirred up, and in the Spring of 1850 hundreds of anxious gold seekers began to take to the trails that led out of Foster’s Bar towards the realm of fancied wealth. After the first band of miners reached the region indicated by Stoddard, they searched long and diligently, but the glittering sands of the “Lake of Gold” were never revealed. When they became satisfied that is was all a grand hoax, the disappointed adventurers tried their hand at prospecting in the surrounding gullies and ravines. Imagine their surprise when they found “color” almost at once. And it was not long until they discovered that every creek bed from Foster’s Bar to the mythical Gold Lake section was a depository of golden promise. And it was not long either until thousands of eager miners were scouring these creek beds in search of the yellow metal.
During the period between 1850 and 1853 all the diggings in Sierra County were in a flourishing condition, well supplied with gaming houses and saloons, which in turn were full of patrons, who in consequence were generally full of ardent spirits and good cheer. There were no courts of law, and records of robberies and murders and lynching, though matching those of other sections of the mining country, have been fortunately obliterated in the shadows of the advancing years. In those days, the refining influence of virtuous womanhood was for the most part absent.
In the meantime Downieville grew as if by magic. By Summer it was estimated that there were not less than 5,000 people there, constantly coming and going. Tent structures prevailed. In 1851 Downieville polled 1,132 votes. Pure gold was now being discovered in the bed of the river in large lumps or nuggets; and the story still persists that in the year 1851 a nugget was found on the banks of the Yuba just above Downieville weighing twenty-six and a half pounds, and worth eight thousand dollars. There was only one street in the town, three or four hundred feet in length, for the mountains, at whose base it lay, were so steep that there was no room for more than one passageway between it and the river. All the miners in camps within eight or ten miles of Downieville depending upon it for supplies, and it was consequently at all times a scene of bustling activity.
It is now the year 1856. Although it was but seven years since the first gold seekers has appeared in the canyons of the North Yuba, the whole area here had been ransacked; every flat and ravine had been prospected. Life was led so fast that already it could show ruins and deserted villages. Hydraulic mining was now the order of the day, and the section of Sierra County from Howland Flat in the north to Alleghany on the south was being worked by many companies in the process of wholesale sluicing. Great gangs of men could be seen operating giant monitors, cutting wide gashes in the hills and ridges. Thirteen miles below was Camptonville, the outskirts of which were flattened and thoroughly washed of thousands of dollars in loose gold; ten miles farther to the south, but over in Nevada County, was North San Juan, with a population of ten thousand, the central supply town for the rich hydraulic operations on the famous San Juan Ridge. Nowhere in California was hydraulic mining undertaken on such a gigantic scale as here. A great network of flumes and canals had been constructed to bring in water for these operations, said to have cost something like five million dollars. Prominent among these fields of gold-bearing gravel deposits were Cherokee, North Columbia, Lake City, and North Bloomfield, were the Malakoff Mine was situated, the most colossal hydraulic excavation in the Sierras. Most of these areas were being mined up to the month of January 1884, when a state law closed them down for good.
A correspondent of the Hutching’s Magazine of San Francisco went to these parts to report on the mining activities, but, instead of giving factual accounts of operations, no doubt bewitched by the superb beauty of his surroundings, he breaks forth into this very romantic effusion:
The sheet of vapor, which hangs in dreamy silence above the brow of the Sierras, descends and gathers its misty mantle about the frail flower which nods to the passing brook. As the morning sun melts the dewy tears, they fall into the stream, and are borne along the restless current. On and on it glides, now struggling over rocks and craggy steeps, now dancing in the sunlight, or kissing the weeping foliage which seeks to span the stream, and now exulting in its liberty – when lo! The bearded miner issues forth from his rude hut and, with implements in hand, forthwith proceeds to chain the trembling drops; and still it struggles, but too soon the fetters are secure, and though it shrinks, yet it is urged on to its debasing destiny. All day it labors, and again as night approaches; but as the tiny globulet surveys itself, how sadly changed! Its face discolored, the luster of its eye is vanished; in disgust it turns away to rest, not on the fair face of the pale flower which cast it on the pitiless world, but to lose its identity among swarthy companions in a neighboring pool.
Often on thinking of the men of the early mining days we visualize them as grizzly specimens of manhood, ranging in age from forty to sixty years, whereas most of them were under forty. In fact we might say that the Americans who precipitated themselves upon California in the pioneer days if not the flower of the United States citizenry, were beings of sterner mould; ambitious individuals in the prime of life, men of imagination, men of dreams, spirits imbued with the highest forms of romanticism and adventure, who came west not so much with the hope of gathering to themselves great heaps of golden treasure as with the desire of reveling in the excitement of discovery, of feeling that thrill we all love to experience, of suddenly coming upon buried treasure – the stuff of which tales like Robinson Crusoe and Ali Baba and Treasure Island are made.
Deep in the heart of the Sierra Hills the picturesque little village of Downieville still flourishes, restored again to the beauty which it possessed when it flashed on the bewildered vision of old Major Downie in the winter of 1849. A goodly number of its inhabitants today are descendants of the pioneers who first panned the flats on “The Forks” for hidden wealth. A traveler wrote in 1857:
Not long ago, in company with Father John McGarry and Father Patrick O’Reilly, the pastor of Grass Valley, two priests who had spent most of their lives in these historic precincts, I paid a visit to this delightful spot. To me it was an experience I shall not soon forget. And yet it was not the enchantment of the forest and river and mountain scenery which thrilled me, so much as the gladsome spirit manifested by these humble folk on meeting once more these kindly men of God, more dear to them than anything else in life. As one of the old-timers whispered to me, when we were leaving, “Like the faithful old Yuba they gave us of their bounty, for their hearts are hearts of gold.”
 By Michael Miller

07/28/2006  11:03AM

There were three reasons I bid the Empire Mine Adit Project. (1) The Sixteen to One was not producing gold and I wanted to keep the crew together in a paying job. At least the Sixteen to One would have miners to do maintenance and some gold detecting. (2) The project was a topic of interest to our mining men, who put effort over an eighteen-year time span to create the project. Local miners were the right ones to open the Empire Its benefit to the Sixteen to One is in its educational value to the public. Mining companies either spin the benefits of mining with a lot of BS, or they completely ignore the responsibility of getting public support for the miners’ work. The Sixteen has suffered immensely because of outside interference from people who do not understand mining. This perception must change if mining is to continue in America. The Sixteen has been proactive with public programs: supports a museum, donates gold specimens to non profits for raffles, teaches boy scouts about mining, talks to school classes, and maintains an informative web site designed for education not hype. (3) The last of the three reasons revolves around the hard work, dedication and skills of our crew. Miners should hold their heads high, whether it is coal, uranium or gold. In a society where the cowboy is an American hero, the miner has not only been lost but also vilified. The Empire Mine draws over 100,000 people annually. Park people hope the new adit will increase attendance. Scoop found a letter that honored the Sixteen to One miner. It is part of of a permanent history.

Interestingly, the Empire job began July 10, 2004, although the bidding occurred in January. In July only three miners (Joe, Reid and Ian ) held onto the belief in and dream of gold at the Sixteen. All the other quit. It was a dark time. I decided to pull the plug and shut it down August first. The men were exhausted and I was concerned for their safety. On July 14, they drilled into a million dollar pocket. The Sixteen to One dodged another setback.

The Empire Mine project has been a very difficult undertaking because of its unusual circumstances: the actions of well meaning Park employees, unfamiliar with the truths of mining and our unfamiliarity with the State of California bureaucracy governing contracts. Nevertheless, we worked through our problems.

If I had to, well let’s imagine some massive social catastrophe or natural disaster happened, if I had to organize and lead a team of people on a difficult mission of survival, miners would be my first choice of comrades. This message permeates many letters I have put in the public domain with State Parks: real miners solve problems as a habit. It is what they do on a daily basis underground in an old mine like the Sixteen or Empire. One last reason Scoop dug it from the archives was the interest we have heard from people about the Empire project. Its topic category on the Forum has been quite for reasons, which will no longer be important once the contract is final.

Thanks for asking.
 By John Yuma

07/26/2006  7:55PM

What does this have to do with the 16:1 mine?

07/25/2006  10:30PM

Letter from Scoop offers up high-grade item from company. Rae is out of office for a week and offered me her computer for research. Well, Scoop found some archives and yes, passes it on to you.

Phil is \State Park Construction Manager.

Letter year not given but guessing 2005 in August.

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